Chang to be honoured in Sampras-style send off

Recently-retired Michael Chang will be honoured in a special ceremony at the US Open on Tuesday.

india Updated: Sep 02, 2003 10:15 IST

Recently-retired Michael Chang will be honoured in a special ceremony at the US Open on Tuesday.

The American brought down the curtain on his 16-year career following his defeat by Chilean Fernando Gonzalez in the first round of the Open last Tuesday.

Chang's final moments as a professional on Tuesday were watched by a sparse crowd on the Arthur Ashe court, a complete contrast to the previous night when 14-times grand slam winner Pete Sampras had taken part in a high-profile ceremony in honour of his retirement.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) will now give Chang a similar send off, between the evening session matches on centre court.

"Michael won countless fans across the world with his tenacious game and his champion's heart and there is no better place to honour him than in New York," said Arlen Kantarian, chief executive of the USTA's professional tennis division, in a statement on Monday.

Chang, 31, became the youngest men's grand slam champion when he won the French Open aged 17 and three months in 1989.

He beat Stefan Edberg in the final but it was a moment in his fourth round win over Ivan Lendl -- when Chang served underarm to the then world number one -- which shot him to prominence.

He went on to capture 34 singles titles in his career, but despite reaching three more grand slam finals, could not add another major to his resume.

"Chang's win at Roland Garros began one of the greatest eras in American tennis," said Alan Schwartz, president of the USTA.

"His successes inspired many people around the world to pick up the game of tennis, particularly in Asian communities."

First Published: Sep 02, 2003 10:15 IST